AT 14.47pm yesterday Brian Cowen sat down, having delivered a speech in the Dail for the last time, a speech in which he repeated the claim that decisions his government had taken were in the interests of all the people.
No regrets, no remorse. As Mr Cowen moved from a salary of €225,000 to a pension of €150,000 a year many on this same day saw their pay fall from €17,992 to €15,912 as a result of one such decision: to reduce the paltry minimum wage.
Whatever about whether we now understand fully what has befallen us, we can be sure of one thing: Fianna Fail still don't get it. Good riddance.
Rathedmond, Co Sligo
IF Brian Cowan honestly believes that he served the State and the people of Ireland for the last 24 years, he should waive any 'golden goodbye' other than his salary and pension and publicly encourage other TDs to act likewise.
Acceptance of 'golden goodbyes' by the architects of this failed administration demonstrates the greed and self-interest that Ireland desperately needs to shed.
Waiving them would be a first step by politicians in accepting their part in this sorry affair and, would perhaps, sow the first seeds of redemption.
NOW that the 30th Dail has been brought to an end, we have an opportunity for real change.
The electorate, which has been advised by our ex-Taoiseach to keep "looking and going forward" now has a distinct responsibility to pause and look back at the disaster that the previous administration's policies have perpetrated.
The failures of the previous government did not rest with one or two individuals but were the result of nurturing vested interests at the expense of the general population and the country.
Voters need to look forward and envision a Dail that is devoid of cronyism and corruption.
Statesmen, not career politicians.
To prevent our nightmare continuing or even getting worse, give your vote to candidates with intelligent and realistic visions for our country and skills and talents beyond going to funerals, securing medical cards and resurfacing roads.